Double Catey winners Andrew and Lisa Radford have returned to the Edinburgh restaurant scene after a year-long break, with the launch of their bold new venture Timberyard. Kerstin Kühn reports
When Andrew and Lisa Radford closed their Edinburgh restaurants Atrium and Blue after almost two decades in 2011, there was a sense of dismay at the prospect of the former double Catey winners simply fading away from the Scottish capital's dining scene.
But little more than a year on the Radfords returned, with the opening last summer of their bold new venture Timberyard. The restaurant is a proper family affair: next to Andrew and Lisa, who are running the business, eldest son Ben is heading up the kitchen, while younger son Jo is in charge of the bar and daughter Abi helps out front of house.
Located on Lady Lawson Street, just a stone's throw from their previous ventures, the Victorian building the restaurant is housed in was used as a timber yard until five years ago when it became derelict. The Radfords financed the conversion of the space with family loans. The result is an 80-seat restaurant that has retained a warehouse feel to the interior, with a stylish bar and natural elements such as untreated wood, metal and slate giving the cavernous dining room a sense of both the organic and the industrial.
The menu is divided into four sections - Bite, Small, Large and Sweet - with four options for each as well as a daily changing specials board. The restaurant averages around 70-80 covers at dinner on weeknights and more than 100 at the weekend. Lunchtimes are slightly less busy, at around 40 to 50 covers.
There's something distinctly Noma-esque about Timberyard's menu, with foraged, home-smoked and pickled ingredients taking centre stage.
"Everything is made in-house; we don't really buy anything in," says Ben. "We like to play around with things and do as much as we can ourselves."
A case in point is a Bite of pickled mackerel (£4). Ben lightly pickles the fish in cider vinegar, sugar, shallots and thyme and serves it with an oyster poached in its own juice, home-pickled salsify, carrot and beetroot, and creamed horseradish.
Among the Small plates is a dish of raw venison with spelt, hazelnut and egg yolk (£8.50). "It's our take on a tartar," explains Ben. "We use roe deer from Newtonmore, which we dice up very fine, mix through with a mayonnaise - made from a home-made mushroom vinegar and egg yolk - and serve with candied hazelnuts and spelt toast."
Over the course of a month, the menu will usually change in its entirety, although some dishes may stay on longer. "Elements change all the time as the season moves on," says Ben. "For instance we no longer have crow garlic, which we've replaced with wild leeks." This foraged ingredient - similar to wild garlic - is used as a garnish on a Large dish of cod with mussels, sea purslane, leek and parsnip (£18.50). Meanwhile oak smoked sirloin (£19.50) sees the beef cured for eight hours in a salt and brown sugar mix and then hot smoked over oak and served with January king cabbage, carrot, potato purée and braised onion.
Puddings continue in like vein, with an earthy dessert of Conference pears from Herefordshire (£7.50) summarising the Timberyard ethos. They are lightly poached in pine syrup and served with pear crisps dusted with pine sugar and iced gingerbread.
With Timberyard the Radford family have taken the success of the Atrium and Blue and moved their award-winning philosophy one step along, embracing a modern culinary ethos. They've well and truly made their comeback.
Sample dishes from the menu
Bite Cured trout, cucumber, dill £4
Air dried goose, pear £4
Small Hand dived scallop, apple, Jerusalem artichoke, sorrel £9
Carrot, crowdie, seeds, honey, mustard £6.50
Large Burnt leek, baked celeriac, spinach, chestnut mushroom £12.50
Roast crown of pigeon, kale, beetroot, thyme, spelt, potato £17.50
Sweet Burnt cream, milk, mead, oats, chocolate marshmallow £7
Baked apple, apple sorbet £7
Timberyard 10 Lady Lawson Street
Edinburgh EH3 9DS
0131 221 1222